Major Differences Between E Series, M Series, and X Series NI DAQ Devices


Use this document to compare differences between 3 generations of NI Multifunction I/O DAQ products, the NI 60xxE, NI 62xx, and NI 63xx (formerly E Series, M Series and X Series, respectively). Easily review analog, digital, and counter, calibration, clock, and synchronization specifications side by side.

Note that this article replaces KnowledgeBase 3E78PKHS: Major Differences Between E Series, M Series, and X Series NI DAQ Devices. Some NI manuals may still reference the previous document. If you were redirected from the previous KnowledgeBase URL, please update your bookmarks accordingly.


Introduction to NI DAQ Multifunction I/O Devices and Modules

NI 60xxE, NI 62xx, and NI 63xx (formerly E Series, M Series and X Series, respectively) Multifunction I/O DAQ modules and devices represent three generations of NI DAQ products.  Each successive release (60xxE, 62xx, then 63xx) has provided a host of new features which are outlined below. This document is only intended a summary of the features. Please review NI DAQ manuals and specifications for more detailed information. 

Note: Most E Series devices have a 60xxE model number, most M Series devices have a 62xx model number, and most X Series devices have a 63xx model number, where xx can be any number. Examples for E Series, M Series and X Series: NI 6052E, NI 6251 and NI 6361, respectively. 


Quick Comparison Table of Functional Differences

Functional Differences Between X Series, M Series, and E Series DAQ Devices
  NI 63xx (X Series) NI 62xx (M Series) NI 60xxE (E Series)
Analog Input      
Analog Input Channels 8,16, 32, or 80 8,16, 32, or 80 16 or 64
Sampling Rate Up to 2 MS/s/ch (16-bit) Up to 1.25 MS/s (16-bit) Up to 1.25 MS/s (12-bit)
Input Resolution 16-bit 16 or 18-bit 12 or 16-bit
Calibration Method NI-MCal (all ranges) NI-MCal (all ranges) Linear, 2-point (single range)
Calibration Interval 1 or 2 years 1 or 2 years 1 year
Analog Output      
Analog Output Channels 0, 2, or 4 0, 2, or 4 0 or 2
Analog Output Rate up to 2.8 MS/s, 16-bit up to 2.8 MS/s, 16-bit up to 333 kS/s, 16-bit
Analog Output Resolution 16-bit 16-bit 12-bit or 16-bit
Digital I/O      
Digital I/O Lines 24 or 48 24 or 48 8 or 32
Digital I/O Rate 10 MHz 10 MHz* Software-Timed
Timing Source Internal, External Internal**,
Digital Levels TTL TTL or 24V TTL
Digital Line Protection Improved over/under voltage (±20 V), overcurrent protection Improved over/under voltage (±20 V), overcurrent protection -
Counter/Timers 4, 32-bit 2, 32-bit 2, 24-bit
Counter  Timebase 100 MHz 80 MHz 20 MHz
Quadrature Encoder Inputs Yes Yes No
Digital Debouncing Filters Available on All Digital  Lines
Usable with Counter Tasks Only
Max Rate Benchmark for Buffered Counter Input Tasks 10 MHz on all four  counters (PCIe) 380 kHz (PCI)
1194 kHz - 621x
single counter
150 kHz on a single counter
Buffered Counter Outputs? Yes No No
Clock Synchronization PLL, RTSI PLL, RTSI RTSI
DMA Channels 8 6 1 or 3
Connector Type VHDCI (high density)  VHDCI (high density) SCSI II
Isolation - 60 VDC continuous bank isolation, 1,400 Vrms/1,950 VDC channel-to-bus isolation, withstand for 5 s* -

* Available on some devices 
**Digital I/O subsystem does not have its own internal clock source, and therefore, an external signal or clock from another subsystem on the board must be provided. See Correlated DIO with USB M Series DAQ Device for additional details.


Advantages of NI 63xx over 62xx (X Series over M Series)

Note: this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all differences.

  • Dedicated sample clocks for digital I/O tasks
  • All tasks are retriggerable.  On M Series this is only true for counter tasks
  • 4 Counters with advanced features (refer to the X Series User Manual for more information)
  • 100 MHz timebase available for all tasks (M Series uses 80 MHz for counters and 20 MHz for analog tasks)
  • Simultaneous sampling available on some boards
  • Higher throughput for streaming over PCIe and PXIe busses


Advantages of NI 62xx over 60xxE (M Series over E Series)

Note: this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all differences.

  • Much larger analog input and output FIFO buffers
  • 4 or 6 DMA channels, which increase performance when performing multiple tasks
  • NI-TIO counter features suport, such as two-edge separation and quadrature encoding
  • 16 PFI lines (M Series) vs. 10 PFI lines (E Series)
  • Debouncing filters on the PFI and RTSI lines
  • Better protection on the digital input and output and PFI lines
  • AO offset support on Accuracy M Series boards
  • On M Series devices, timing signals such as counter output, freqout, and sample clocks, can be exported to any PFI line. On an E Series device, these signals must be exported through their dedicated lines.
  • E Series devices only have an AO internal reference of 10 V. For M Series, the Value boards have a reference of 10 V, the Performance boards have references of 5 and 10 V, and the Accuracy boards have references of 1, 2, 5, and 10 V.
  • M Series PXI devices have the ability to phase lock to a common PXI backplane clock for easier and more accurate synchronization of measurements across multiple devices. E Series PXI devices do not have this functionality.


Other Differences Between Families

Note: this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all differences.

  • X Series and M Series are only supported with the NI-DAQmx driver, while E Series is supported in both Traditional NI-DAQ and NI-DAQmx.
  • Unscaled data is not calibrated with M Series or X Series, while unscaled data for E Series is calibrated.
  • For analog triggering, M Series and X Series use APFI0 and APFI1; E Series uses PFI0.
  • Synchronization between devices is handled differently between devices.  E Series devices utilize a master timebase of 20 MHz (clocks are divided down from this).  M Series and X Series use a reference clock to PLL their own internal timebases to.
  • Internal resistors on the PFI lines have changed between the E Series and X/M Series. The E Series devices have a ~50 kOhm pull up resistor connected internally to each PFI line, while the X/M series have a ~50kOhm pull down resistor.

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